There's a common analogy for application rationalization that likens it to an untidy storage shed or garage.

You get to a point where you have so much stuff that you don't recall whether you have a particular tool that you need - or if you do you can't find it and you end up going out and buying a new one - only to find the original a few days later. Larger companies can have hundreds, if not thousands, of applications including many not directly under the control of IT. It becomes almost impossible to track all the applications in use. The end result is money wasted through duplication, under-utilization, and licensing compliance issues. Further problems arise as the business asks for new capabilities as it's not always clear whether to invest in an existing application or purchase a new one.


We thought through this problem and thought it would be very beneficial to have all the following managed in the same place:

  • You need core information about assets, services, service levels, risk profiles, information from the CMDB, etc.
  • You need a way to manage workflow based upon the data described above, the ability to collaborate and collect survey data from people so you have the technical data and the human interpretation of it.
  • You need a way to build more detail such as through automatically discovering all your services and assets and mapping them so you know the implications when you need to rationalize your applications


We defined a solid 4-phase process that we felt would be most useful to manage the process:


  1. Classify - What applications do we have and maintain to run the business?
  2. Measure - Define and gather metrics such cost, usage, risk and quality
  3. Analyze - Use insights to analyze, assess and evaluate
  4. Plan - Decide on the fate of the application, create IT modernization roadmaps and execute them


A thorough understanding of the applications in use and how they are used enables you to make better decisions about which ones to keep, which may need some investment and which should be retired.  It's time to clean up that storage space!



On October 27th ServiceNow announced the launch of a new product for the Istanbul release: Application Portfolio Management. This complements Project and Portfolio Management and IT Financial Management in what is now a suite of IT strategic planning applications called IT Business Management. To find out more visit IT Transformation | IT Business Management | ServiceNow